Amazing Spider-Girl #23

Background

The Sisterhood of Mutants is pushing to seduce May Parker's friend Sara Hingle into their anti-human agenda. Humanity First, an anti-mutant hate group, is causing more and more trouble for May Parker's friend Davida Kirby. Fury, the Goblin Queen has escaped from prison. May Parker, a/k/a Spider-Girl, knows all of this. She doesn't know about Project: Changeling, a duplicate May Parker held in stasis at the command of Norman Osborn for the last 15 years... that just woke up.

Story 'Did Someone Say Clones?!'

Spider-Girl stands and watches as the X-People search the apartment recently vacated by Magneta and her mutant cronies. Aside from some Humanity First literature, they find nothing of substance. Spider-Girl volunteers to look after Sara, but is summarily rebuffed by Jubilee. "We mutants prefer to take care of our own." Spider-Girl says nothing, but has no intention of letting this one go.

The next morning, May is leaving for school when MJ asks if her father seems to be acting funny. The night before, MJ had walked in on Peter talking to Benjy and she left with reason to be concerned: "No one will ever harm you... or kidnap you... or hold you hostage. You'll never have to suffer like your sister did. I... I even thought she was dead until Kaine rescued her. Or so he said." May has had her own problems with her father of late, but denies it. She walks off to school, noticing several X-People keeping watch on the neighborhood, and arrives to find Gene Thompson. Her attempt to start a conversation with Thompson is brushed off, and May walks off, blowing off Wes in the process. Wes later stumbles across Simone DeSantos in the library telling a friend of hers that Gene was the one who sabotaged her run for student council.

Deep below Osborn Industries, Brenda Drago Osborn arrives to find Normie lying unconscious(?) on the floor of the laboratory, the remains of an empty and shattered stasis chamber strewn about his limp body....

Back at school, May receives a call from Darkdevil, wanting to know why Peter Parker would arrange a meeting with Kaine. May gets the details from him, suits up, and swings off in pursuit. At a nearby rooftop, Peter has confronted Kaine, demanding to know whether Kaine knew about the May double. Kaine, confused, tries to walk away. Peter decks him. The two lose their temper and begin to brawl, but Peter is quickly restrained by Darkdevil and Spider-Girl. Peter then slips away from them and begins to pummel Kaine without mercy. His spider sense goes off and he swings blindly behind him... barely missing his own daughter. Repulsed at what he almost did, Peter regains enough control to walk away without bothering to explain his actions.

May returns to school, confused to the extreme by his father's actions, when she runs into Sara Hingle. Sara has just received a phone call from the Sisterhood of Mutants demanding that she choose a side. Terrified, Sara rebuffs May's offer of help and runs away. Determined not to let Sara escape, May starts after her but is interrupted by Brad Miller, who is in a near panic: the group of kids who wanted to start a Humanity First chapter in school are fed up with Davida Kirby and plan to ambush her. May, realizing that Sara has the X-People to look after her, decides to save Davida. She runs to the rooftop, opens the door...

... only to come face to face with her double. "You! You stole my life! Now I'm here to return the favor!"

General Comments

Let me start off by saying that one thing I appreciate about this book is its frequent homages to the core titles. Just two issues ago we had Peter take an exploding beaker in the face just like Norman Osborn in ASM #40, and this issue ends with a hat tip to the final page of SSM #216, which kicked off the Clone Saga in earnest when Peter Parker came face to face with his clone at last.

A slightly more disturbing image (yet almost certainly as intentional) was the sight of Peter Parker very nearly hitting his teenage daughter, which brings back unpleasant memories of the time an enraged Peter knocked his wife across Seward Trainer's lab the day he learned he was a clone. It seems safe to say that the chemicals Peter recently inhaled are having more of an effect on him than he would like anyone to believe, as evidenced by the fact that he was willing to beat Kaine to a pulp without so much as an explanation. I've never really enjoyed seeing Peter Parker snap like this, but he is certainly capable of it. And seeing as how those chemicals have probably messed with his mind, his behavior the last few issues doesn't seem forced.

So now May has to face her evil twin with both Davida Kirby and Sara Hingle's lives possibly hanging in the balance? Typical Parker luck. Not to mention a good cliffhanger. It speaks to the quality of this issue that it, while essentially a set-up for the next few issues, was good in its own right. Tom DeFalco has done some very good work of laid laying the groundwork for this storyline and it is already paying off. Next issue should be a good one.

Oh, and kudos to DeFalco for bringing up Gene's not-so-nice contribution to May's student council campaign: something that was revealed and then seemingly forgotten almost twenty issues ago. Now can May just dump this clown already?

Overall Rating

An issue that sets the table nicely for the following issues without sacrificing a good read in the process. Four webs.